What I Learned in August

As a new season turns into the next, I love to take some time of reflection and rejuvenation. Right now, I’m going from one busy season to another. August was a really busy month for me and September and October will be busy months as well. I am so grateful to be able to come back to this blog to simply chat about life and to catch up with all of you guys. That’s why I love my “What I Learned This Month” series. I wrote about what I learned in June and then in July. And I love hearing what is going on with you all — be sure to let me know what you have learned this month too!

Here are some bits and pieces of lessons I’m learning about myself, the world, and other people.
What I Learned In August

1. I very much love planning things and I like to focus on details.

I can be detail-orientated in my work, which in some ways is both a good and bad thing, depending on the situation. From working at my job full-time, volunteering and doing freelance work, I’ve learned more about the ways my brain works and what is the most productive ways for me to get things done.

2. On that note, balancing work, freelancing, blogging and life is hard.

Last week, I gave myself a break from blogging and trying to post at least 2-3 times a week. While I take blogging seriously, it is still a hobby and comes second to other things in my life. Sometimes you have to put other things before blogging. Wait, what? I didn’t know that either. I loved what Corbin said—that there are more important things that come before blogging in her recent post on Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Blog.

So when work and other commitments come up, I’ve learned it’s okay to say no to things that are important and make you happy, but are not your focus for right now. It’s all about discipline and knowing what needs to be done and when.
Dream Catcher Gina Alyse

3. There is too much emphasis on productivity in my life. We need to take some more time to simply hang out with people.

This is probably due to my busy schedule, but taking time to actually hang out and have good conversations with people is so important. Meeting new friends for lunch, going to coffee with your boss, or long phone conversations with long-distance friends. These are all needed in the world. Why do we emphasize productivity and schedules over time to simply develop genuine relationships? This is a goal of mine for this upcoming month: focus on simply hanging out with people more.

4. There’s an island in Michigan where no cars are allowed.

I learned a couple weeks ago that Mackinac Island doesn’t have any cars—rather you can find bikes and horses and carriages. It’s an island known for tourism and one of America’s oldest national parks. It feels like you’ve gone back in time with its old-fashioned feel. I would love to visit it one day. Have you all been there or heard of it?

5. Even if vegan options are not on the menu, some restaurants will surprise you.

I went out to dinner with some friends a couple weeks ago, and while they didn’t have a lot of vegan options, I asked the waiter, who then suggested a veggie pasta dish—exactly what I was in the mood for. It was delicious and something unexpected, a perfect surprise for going out to dinner when you have dietary needs.

6. No Sidebar newsletters have been my jam.

Girls and guys, if you are interested in living life simply and taking on a more minimalistic lifestyle, No Sidebar is for you. They have amazing articles, and I have been obsessed with their email newsletters this month.
Sunflowers - Summer

7. Never sacrifice sleep.

I’m learning so much about how adequate sleep is important for us for us to live healthfully and fruitfully. Especially in college, I would stay up late and get up early and sacrifice my sleep for other things. While it’s hard to truly go to bed as early as I would like, I’m trying to motivate myself to get more sleep. If you feel fatigued during the day, I found this video to be very insightful.

8. Minimalism isn’t just a trend.

Catherine wrote an incredible post on what minimalism is and if it’s just another trend out there. Is it considered cool or hipster now to declutter our closets and have a capsule wardrobe? Or is minimalism so much more than what you own and how much you own? As I learn more about minimalism and struggle with it as time goes on, I truly believe minimalism is not just a trend. It’s a mindset to have in order to focus on what we value most. It’s a way to make our values more prominent and tangible in our everyday living. 

Related Post: 5 Ways to Encourage Minimalism in Your Life
Instagram Gina Alyse Theme

9. I’ve defined an Instagram theme and aesthetic!

I’ve been loving Instagram and using more often than usual. From doing so and taking time to evaluate my Instagram, I think I have come up with my theme/aesthetic. Color wise, I’m going to focus on bright whites with pops of rich, bright colors. Nature and travel photos will be part of my feed, along with some other lifestyle shots. I will also focus on creativity in general with posts about blogging, journaling, my creative workspace, and more. And of course, there will always be fruit! Because I’m truly obsessed with my smoothies and bananas.
Picking Sunflowers | What I Learned in August

10. I’ve been loving telenovelas on Netflix.

Recently, I’ve been watching some TV shows on Netflix in Spanish, and I’ve become addicted. It’s such a good way to practice my Spanish and keep up with it. I’ve found some shows that take place in Spain, which means I can understand the accent easily and it reminds me of my semester abroad. Watching these have been a fun way to wind down at night.

What have you learned in August? What shows are you currently watching or books you’re reading? I would love to know how August has been for you. The fact that it’s almost September is blowing my mind, but I’m excited for this new season and to see what fall and back-to-school time is like for the first time out of college. Plus, I have some exciting things coming up blogging wise and Instagram wise! Stay tuned, my friends. And stay creative.